Softest Banana Chocolate Muffins

Last week I came across a recipe I found by a foodie/ blogger called With Peanut Butter on Top, and it was called Chocolate Chip Banana Yogurt Muffins, making them a healthier version of breakfast muffins, with way less fat and sugars (these only found in the chocolate chips and walnuts and a little from the coconut sugar- which is actually not a bad type of sugar!) but actually with a pretty good amount of protein and fiber! I decided to adapt the recipe using apple sauce instead of yogurt, less coconut sugar, and the wheat flour with some flax seed. I also opted for sliced almonds instead of walnuts. These babies came out SO moist and wonderful, they brought me back memories from an older time, when going to your grandma’s house meant cakes, pastries, and afternoon coffee on a rainy day! Is there anything more comforting??

Anyway, with the flax seed, these muffins have even more fiber  and the apple sauce is the substitute for oil! You can also opt to omit the chocolate chips if you really are looking to cut down but these allow for a still fun diet! Who says losing weight has to be boring??

If you want to try them, here is my recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 very ripe bananas (for natural sweetness)
  • 1 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 cup oat flour (you can easily make this by putting some rolled oats into a food processor)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini dark (or semi-sweet) chocolate chunks (I LOVE the Trader Joes ones)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (or nut of choice)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin/ cupcake tin with paper liners (spray with a tiny bit of non-stick cooking spray)
  2. In a large bowl, add the banana and mash them with a fork. Add sugar, apple sauce, vanilla extract, and eggs. Mix again.
  3. In a smaller, separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
  4. Slowly add the dry mix into the wet mix, adding a little at a time (Don’t vigorously over-mix. Stop when dry and wet have just come together).
  5. Add in chocolate chips and nuts and fill muffin tray 1/4 full.
  6. Put them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

ENJOY!!

These are best fresh out the oven with some coffee in the morning, or can be frozen and put in the microwave to warm for 15 seconds when you are craving some.

Let me know how yours turns out!!

Slave Food

I love learning about the history of certain foods and meals. Where did something so unique come from? How did it start? Who cooked it first? What was happening at that specific country at this time in history? I could smell the sweet coconut and corn scent tonight and went down to my mother’s kitchen. It wasn’t a surprise to me that she was cooking a big batch of canjica. Canjica is a very old and classic Brazilian dish usually made during the month of June for the Festa Junina, or “June festival,” which celebrates the nativity of St. John the Baptist, is celebrated in the beginning of winter back in Brazil. This is a huge festival during the month that celebrates rural life, and was first introduced by the Portuguese during the colonial period (1500- 1822).

This dish (canjica, or also known as mugunza), is very popular during this June festival and it is sort of like a porridge made with de-germed white corn kernels, cooked with coconut milk, milk, coconut shavings, sugar, and cinnamon until tender and thick. The kernels are tender to the bite but the milk liquid is not thin or too thick like a pudding, but more in between, making this the perfectly nostalgic dish to eat during the winter. As I tasted my mom’s canjica on this rainy night, I felt so comforting and warm, it tasted to me like home and family. But where has this popular Brazilian dish come from? It is celebrated during the rural festivities, but why was it started in the rural areas? And how? I decided to investigate.

It turns out this dish is of none other than of African influence! What a shock! (sarcasm) just like the famous feijoada, canjica also has thick African roots, firstly created by black slaves during colonial times, and brought by them straight from Africa. By the way, for those of you who know nothing about South America, Brazil’s history is actually pretty similar to America’s. But that is for another blog post perhaps…

There is lots of controversy of where the term “canjica” came from. There is strong suggestion that it is derived from the term “kandjica” from the African language Quimbundo, spoken in Angola. This term in Angola is actually the name for a thick corn cooked porridge, so it makes pretty much a lot of sense it would be derived from here. Others say it could have come from Asia as well…

Whether from Asia or Africa, this famous June festival dish has become very famous in Brazilian rural areas and now all over the country and nobody can say this dish isn’t so comforting and cozy in cold days.

So if you want to try it at home, here is a recipe!

2 15-ounce cans white hominy (or sweet corn)

1-1/2 cups whole/ skim milk

1 cup sugar

1 cup thick coconut milk

1-1/2 cups of fresh grated coconut

Cloves (optional)

Cinnamon (optional)

Wash and drain hominy. Soak kernels for a few hours (preferably overnight). Drain. Add milk and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until hominy is soft, stirring occasionally. Add  coconut milk, sugar, and coconut flakes. Simmer for another about one hour until thick, stirring occasionally. Transfer mixture into a serving bowl or several small ramekins. Add cinnamon and cloves for flavor. Enjoy warm or chilled.

Keeps well in a fridge for 1 week or freezer for 3 months

Serves 10

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